Cable is not cheap, millions of households do not need the sports entrenched channels offered by Dish – leading streaming media to become a rising king in an otherwise, littered kingdom. Packages here, premium channels there and blackouts everywhere. There always seems to be a battle of the bill, the ever-increasing battles between networks and cable companies and the only victims are the consumers. Then something amazing happened. People woke up to choice and took the leap into streaming devices like Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV. This trifecta of choice is heating up streaming wars, but in a way that benefits the customer. Domination is winning when it comes to boosting specs and options, many at no additional costs to cable-weary customers.
The little black box with purple trim receives amazing accolades from various, techie outlets. There is something powerful behind the brand that is Roku. Not only does it deliver a channel queue for selections, it also allows users to play free games like Angry Birds. In addition, Roku offers amazing features like Flickr and Pandora. These little features work to boost its appeal. For around $100, a consumer can purchase the palm sized device, plug into their television with an HDMI cord or wireless and get started watching free TV. Channels like Crackle and a bevy of additional choices are available.
There is a definite advantage for lovers of the big fruit company when it comes to streaming devices. Apple TV may offer, overall, less app selections than Roku – but it holds a steady flow of sales, due to additional benefits. Outside of traditional services like Netflix, HuluPlus, HBOGo and YouTube – Apple TV offers current Apple customers the ability to access their iTunes content, access iCloud and even access the new iTunes Radio. With the AirPlay feature and content transfer between iOS devices and Apple TV, this little marvel of technology is worth the $100 it will cost.
For consumers who may be pondering what streaming media is all about and may not be quite ready to give up cable, there is the Chromecast device. Created by the search engine beast, Google, Chromecast resembles a flash drive with an HDMI port. It’s minuscule and pretty amazing for traveling on the go. There are conditions to this device: users must download the Chromecast app to their mobile phone (Apple and Android only, at this time), tap the go button and the content streams to your TV. The Chromecast is more of a conduit, between a mobile device and the television. With over 60 percent of Americans owning smartphones, there is a good chance many people can try out this service. For an easy, breezy $35, Chromecast is an elective choice to test the streaming waters out.
A few months ago, Roku celebrated the 5 million mark of their sold devices. For a device that just came into existence in 2008 and really came into its own in 2010, the numbers are stunning for a company that did not come attached to a big brand. Speaking of big brands, Apple TV has dominated the streaming device sales. In 2012 alone, 6 million Apple TV’s were sold and numbers indicate that amount can more than double by the end of 2013. Mums the word from Google regarding the exact number of Chromecast devices sold, but one thing is for certain; the device was impossible to find online upon its release this past summer. Winning the hearts of smartphone users, the device is only expected to continue to keep growing in sales.
Streaming media devices Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast continue to slam a fighting cable market. For one set price, consumers can open a world of channels, apps and interactive games. While each of these services allow a user to connect to their cable company channels like HBOGo – many are quite happy locating a great movie or TV show from online. HuluPlus, Netflix and Amazon provide choices with shows. Wal-Mart’s VUDU channel allows consumers to purchase current shows like The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy for affordable pricing. Have these streaming devices branded a path for your television? Let us know below.